A flight attendant on a United Air Lines cross-country flight nervously announced about thirty minutes outbound from Los Angeles, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I don’t know how this happened, but we have 103 passengers aboard and only 40 dinners.” When the passengers’ muttering had died down, she continued, “Anyone who is kind enough to give up his meal so someone else can eat will receive free drinks for the length of the flight.” Her next announcement came an hour later. “If anyone wants to change his mind, we still have twenty-nine dinners available!”
There are many times in our lives when we must make decisions/choices. When we hear the Word of God we have a choice, to allow it to transform us or to reject the Word and go our own way. In our first reading today (Amos 7:12-15) Amaziah rejected the Word of God preached through the prophet Amos. In the Gospel today (Mark 6:7-13) when Jesus sent out the Twelve he prepared them for the fact that not everyone would accept them or their message when he said they were to shake off the dust from their feet when leaving any town that did not make them welcome (Mark 6:11). Why would anyone reject the Word of God?
The Word of God is Good News; it is make our lives better, so why would anyone reject it? When the Word of God challenges us, when the Word of God invites us to leave sin behind and change our lives, no one likes that. In Heb 4:13 we read: “Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart”. Now what do you want to do when you hear the Word of God? We have a choice, to allow it to transform us or to reject the Word and go our own way. We have to decide…
Another point I want to reflect with you is this: Our call to preach the good news of Jesus by bearing witness to God’s love, mercy and salvation as revealed through Jesus. “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world.” (Eph 1: 4)
Amos was a simple shepherd. Yet God sent him to preach a message of repentance to his people. Most of the apostles were fishermen. Yet Jesus didn’t hesitate to share his work with them. Even more surprising – the day came when he entrusted his entire work to them. God continues to choose the simple and the ordinary. We don’t need to be an expert.
Proclaiming Christ message is not just the work of priests and religious alone. In our second reading, Paul reminds us; by baptism we are all called to spread the gospel message. God chooses, God chooses you and me. Every one of us is on God’s list. Church needs many more priests and religious, married deacons, catechists, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, altar servers, choir members and good leaders of the country…
Each Christian is called not only to be a disciple but also to be an apostle. As disciples, we have to follow Jesus and imitate Jesus. As apostles, we have to evangelize the world. We are called to share with others not just words, or ideas, or doctrines but an experience, our experience of God and His Son, Jesus. Like the apostles, like St. Francis Assisi, like Blessed Mother Teresa, we are all chosen and sent to proclaim the Gospel through our living. It is through our transparent Christian lives that we must show in our own actions the love, mercy and concern of Jesus for the people around us. Since we are baptized, Jesus is calling us in our working and living environment to evangelize, to invite people to know Jesus, to love him, to serve him and to follow him. An important part of evangelism is the simple act of inviting a friend or family member to join us in worship.
During the Korean War, a statue of Christ was blown off its pedestal and lay in fragments on the ground in a little Catholic village. A group of American soldiers helped the priest to collect up the fragments. Carefully they put the statue together again. They found all the pieces except the hands. They offered to fly the back to America and have hands made for it. But the priest refused. ‘I have a better idea’, he said. ‘Let’s leave it without hands. And we’ll write on the pedestal the words: FRIEND, LEND ME YOUR HANDS. In that way passers-by will come to see that Christ now has no hands but ours with which to raise up the fallen; no feet but ours to seek out the lost; no ears but ours to listen to the lonely; no tongue but ours to speak words of comfort to the lonely.’
Go home today reflecting on your call. What’s the best way to respond to God’s call?